The Florida Marlins today announced they have finalized manager Ozzie Guillen's 2012 coaching staff, naming two new coaches and returning four coaches from 2011. The new additions are Joey Cora, who has been named bench coach, and Gary Thurman, who has been named first base/outfield/base-running coach. Returning from 2011 are pitching coach Randy St. Claire, hitting coach Eduardo Perez, third base coach Joe Espada and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius. Also, Jeffrey Urgelles returns as the Marlins bullpen coordinator. The announcements were made by Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest.
Cora, who will also serve as the team's infield coach, joins the Marlins after eight seasons on the White Sox coaching staff, the past five as bench coach. He also served as White Sox third base coach from 2004-06. Prior to joining the White Sox staff, Cora spent three seasons as a minor league manager and one as a minor league coach, managing Kingsport (R) in 2001-02 and Savannah in 2003, in addition to managing in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2005. A first-round draft choice in 1985, Cora played 11 Major League seasons with San Diego (1987, 1989-90), Chicago-AL (1991-94), Seattle (1995-98) and Cleveland (1998) and appeared in the post season four times.
Thurman comes to the Marlins from the Cleveland Indians, where he spent four seasons as the organization's minor league outfield/base-running coordinator. He joined the Indians organization after nine seasons in the Seattle organization, with eight seasons as a minor league manager or coach and one season in the Majors as Seattle's first base/outfield/base-running coach in 2007. Originally drafted in the first round by Kansas City in 1993, Thurman had a nine-year Major League playing career with Kansas City (1987-92), Detroit (1993), Seattle (1995) and New York-NL (1997).
St. Claire returns for his third season as Marlins pitching coach, after six-plus seasons as the pitching coach for the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. In 2011, the Marlins pitching staff finished with a 3.95 ERA, the second-lowest in team history and just the third time the team finished with an ERA under 4.00. The 2011 bullpen finished with a 3.42 ERA, the lowest in team history and the sixth-best in the National League.
Perez enters his first full season as Marlins hitting coach, joining the organization on June 9, 2011 after beginning 2011 as a Baseball Operations Special Assistant in the Cleveland Indians organization. He played 13 Major League seasons from 1993-2002 with Anaheim, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Seattle and Cleveland. Perez, who worked as a baseball analyst from 2006-11 with ESPN, managed in the Puerto Rican winter league in 2008-09 and served as manager and general manager of the Puerto Rican National Team.
Espada returns for his third season as the team's third base coach. He enters his seventh season with the Marlins, joining the organization in 2006 as hitting coach at Single-A Greensboro, before stints as hitting coach at Single-A Jupiter (2007) and minor league infield coordinator (2008-09).
Cornelius, entering his third season as the club's bullpen coach, begins his 10th season in the Marlins organization. He began his Marlins coaching career in 2003 as Double-A pitching coach and returned to that post for the 2008-09 seasons after five campaigns as the Jupiter pitching coach. He appeared in 45 games in the Majors, compiling an 8-17, 4.91 mark with Montreal (1995), New York-NL (1995) and Florida (1999-2000).
Additional information on the 2012 coaching staff is available on the team's official website, www.marlins.com.